North Korea/DPRK

According to SIPRI, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, generally called North Korea) may have produced enough plutonium “to build a small number of nuclear warheads, but there is no public information to verify that it has operational nuclear weapons”.   A key question will be whether and how the death of Kim Jong-il and elevation of his son Kim Jong-un will affect North Korean politics.  Under Kim Jong-il, North Korea pursued a nuclear programme that resulted in its announced withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003.  As of 2012, it is estimated to have produced at least 30 kg...

According to SIPRI, the Democratic People's Republic of Korea (DPRK, generally called North Korea) may have produced enough plutonium “to build a small number of nuclear warheads, but there is no public information to verify that it has operational nuclear weapons”.   A key question will be whether and how the death of Kim Jong-il and elevation of his son Kim Jong-un will affect North Korean politics.  Under Kim Jong-il, North Korea pursued a nuclear programme that resulted in its announced withdrawal from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) in 2003.  As of 2012, it is estimated to have produced at least 30 kg of plutonium, which could make up to 10 nuclear warheads. It conducted nuclear tests in 2006, 2009 and possibly (unconfirmed) a further very low yield nuclear test in May 2010.  Though North Korea has a well developed missile programme and tests and markets ballistic missile technologies to several states that raise proliferation and security concerns, data from its nuclear explosive tests and failures in its test programme for the Taepo-dong long range ballistic missile have convinced most analysts that North Korea is not yet capable of launching a long range nuclear weapon.  In 2010, North Korea (DPRK) revealed the existence of a uranium enrichment plant, which although it had been long suspected, surprised observers by being more modern and advanced than expected. 

The Acronym Institute has been tracking the talks to rein in North Korea’s nuclear programme since the 1994 Framework Agreement with the US.  Tensions on the Korean Peninsular have been high since the March 2010 sinking by North Korea of a South Korean vessel killing 46 sailors.  Although North Korea (DPRK) has indicated a willingness to restart the Six Party Talks (comprising China, Japan, North Korea (DPRK), South Korea (ROK), Russia and the United States), this has not happened. The US is currently collaborating with the South Korean government to deploy ballistic missile defences in South Korea, which is fuelling tensions with China as well as North Korea.  Attempts to build a new naval base for Aegis Destroyers (designed to carry BMD missile interceptors) on South Korea’s beautiful Jeju Island are being met with determined local and international opposition, concerned with both the environmental harm caused by the base construction at Gangjeong and by the risks that deployment of BMD will further destabilise security in the region.   It now remains to be seen whether Kim Jong-un will resume the Six Party Talks, which at time of writing remain stalled.

1 September 2014

North Korea has slammed a new British TV drama series featuring its nuclear weapons programme, urging the British government to scrap the “slanderous farce” if it wants to maintain diplomatic ties.

Opposite Number – a series commissioned by Channel 4 and announced last...

30 March 2014

North Korea promised on Sunday to carry out a “new form” of nuclear test after a recent round of ballistic testing, heightening tensions on the divided Korean Peninsula.

The North’s Foreign Ministry didn’t specify what it...

24 March 2014

North Korea will take additional "nuclear measures" if the United States continues its current approach toward Pyongyang, the communist nation's senior envoy here said Monday.

Speaking at a news conference, Ri Tong-il, the North's deputy ambassador to the U.N., warned his...

1 August 2010

Welcome to the Spring/Summer 2010 edition of the Acronym Institute’s International Nuclear Weapons  & Non-Proliferation News, comprising a digest of news on global nuclear weapons policy issues as well as wider disarmament developments and research. This edition has been...

1 August 2009

US-Russia Strategic Arms Talks

Missile Pact Based on Old Plan
Walter Pincus, Washington Post, 13 July 2009
President Obama and Russian President Dmitry Medvedev last week agreed to a joint missile-launch monitoring facility, but...

9 May 2012

Sitting in room M2 in the Vienna International Centre on Monday listening to cluster 2 statements on non-proliferation, I was struck by how little the positions on safeguards have moved since the 2010 NPT Review Conference.

But despite the sense of déjà vu as delegations from different...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
23 May 2010

The second phase of the NPT Review Conference has come to an end. None of the reports has been adopted by consensus as there are still a handful of outstanding areas of disagreement and certain delegations are holding onto their national positions for as long as they possibly can.  The...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
13 May 2014

On Friday, the UN-hosted meeting of around 140 of the 190 states that are party to the 1968 Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons  (NPT) ended with procedural successes, but there was no agreement on the substantive issues,...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
19 February 2014

“Nayarit is a point of no return” declared Juan Manuel Gómez Robledo, Mexico’s Vice Minister for Multilateral Affairs and Human Rights, delivering the Chair’s Summary as he closed the Second International Conference on the...

Dr Rebecca Johnson
3 May 2013

The core purpose of the NPT was security and the prevention of nuclear war, but the  esoteric diplomacy of the current regime has become too far removed from the dangerous and messy world of today’s nuclear risks and ambitions. Rebecca Johnson reports at the close of the NPT meeting...

24 April 2013

Lord Alton of Liverpool: To ask Her Majesty's Government what is their assessment of political and security developments in North Korea.

The Senior Minister of State, Department for Communities and Local Government & Foreign and Commonwealth Office (Baroness Warsi): We are...

23 April 2013

Mr Elfyn Llwyd (Dwyfor Meirionnydd) (PC): Recently, the Prime Minister made the very eccentric contention that North Korean missiles could reach the shores of the UK, apparently in an attempt to bolster support for Trident’s renewal. Is it not time to scrap the Trident renewal, save...

15 April 2013

The Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs (Mr William Hague): I would like to update the House on recent developments on the Korean peninsula and the action the Government are taking in response.

I am concerned by North Korea’s development of nuclear weapons and...

Author(s): G8 Foreign Ministers
11 April 2013

The G8 Foreign Ministers have issued a joint statement following their meeting on 10 and 11 April 2013 in London.

Introduction
G8 Foreign Ministers met in London on 10-11 April. The G8 represents a group of nations with a broad range of global interests and with...

Author(s): UN Security Council
13 June 2009

UN Security Council Resolution 1874 (2009) Adopted by the Security Council at its 6141st meeting, on 12 June 2009.

The Security Council,

Recalling its previous relevant resolutions, including resolution 825 (1993), resolution 1540 (2004), resolution...

Author(s): President of the Security Council
13 April 2009

Statement by the President of the Security Council, United Nations, S/PRST/2009/7, 13 April 2009.

Statement by the President of the Security Council

At the 6106th meeting of the Security Council, held on 13 April 2009, in connection with the Council’...

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